In this product update, Diversity Atlas’ Cultural Attaché, Quincy Hall, introduces three key insights about Gen Z.
Doris Day sang:
Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
I take a bit of an issue with that third line. The future may not be ours, but, to an extent, we can see it.
Coinciding with our CTO Rezza Moieni’s recent talk and paper on the topic of Diversity Prediction, for this month’s product update I am going to cheat a bit. Rather than talk about the product itself, I want to chat about what the product reveals, which is an update of sorts as it is the first time we’ve released these insights, and it contains insights that to the best of my knowledge and Googling haven’t been quantified or qualified to any great level. Yet. Let’s be the first to dip our toes in. Let’s talk about Gen Z (aged 26 and under) – and think of Gen Z now as future leaders.
Across multiple regions, multiple industries, multiple job roles and hierarchical placement, we see in Gen Z some trends, and yet, for every trend, there exists a multitude of ‘terms and conditions apply’ disclaimers.
1. Gen Zers are notably less likely to be religious; except in countries where religion is of higher importance. In fact, in these ‘more religious’ regions, Gen Z are more likely to be religious, and even if they are less likely it is to a much smaller degree than in the former countries.
This is mind-blowing to consider, and so interesting to me that once I looked at the data I had trouble sleeping. It’s not just companies that should have a think about this; it has geo-political ramifications as well. Secularist nations might be looking at other nations where church and state are more closely intertwined and think that if they just wait a generation, the relationship may ease or even unravel, but our data points towards this not necessarily being the case. I should point out that as part of our Diversity Atlas deployment, we ask participants about their cultural and/or social identity priority. In some countries (e.g: Australia, Netherlands) ‘My religion’ is around the 10th highest priority. It is in these countries (and others) we see Gen Z consistently being less likely to be religious. But in other countries, in the Middle East and Africa for example, religion can be as high as ‘1’ on their identity priority selections, and it is in these regions we see examples of Gen Z being more religious than their older colleagues. As mentioned above, there are a lot of ‘terms and conditions’ to apply, some of them being that industries differ, job function differs, even departments differ in the same building, but the trend is noticeable and requires planning and thought.
2. Speaking of one’s cultural and/or social identity priority, globally, across all our customers, we see ‘My occupation’ usually around the 5th most important priority. But not for Gen Z … 10th. This makes perfect sense. When I was in my early 20s, I considered work as that thing I unfortunately had to do to pay for my weekends (especially when for six months I worked in a clothing factory putting the tightening cord in tracksuit pants). It seems intuitive; the younger cohort are less likely to feel connected to their employer or job role, and it would be a good idea for employers to start including Gen Z in future planning initiatives if they are not already. But guess what’s not intuitive? That ageing them doesn’t seem to change it. That is, 18-22, it’s 10th. 22-26, 10th still. What it implies (and we’ll have to wait more than a decade to prove it) is that those who are Gen Z right now, putting ‘my occupation’ as their 10th highest priority? It might still be 10th when they are hitting 40. Attention all employers: You will need to plan for this. I am looking into my crystal ball and I see terms like ‘profit share’ and ‘flexible work arrangements’ becoming more and more crucial to retaining talent.
3. They are more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+. There’s no evidence that they are more likely to be LGBTQIA+, but they are more likely to identify as such in every region, every industry, every hierarchical position. This includes Europe, USA, Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pac. Everywhere. Always. This might be something you already knew, but we have actual data that can let companies know that there is a rainbow wave coming, and if you’re not inclusionary, you’re going to be excluded from the future talent pool. The future leaders pool.
Signed, Quincy Hall, spokesperson for the Grumpy Gen X-ers.
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